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FAQ: Hearing protection

Do I need ear plugs or ear muffs?

According to CSA Z94.2-14 hearing standard, all individuals exposed to noise greater than 85dBA must be provided with appropriate hearing protection if the noise hazard cannot be lowered to safe levels by engineering or administrative controls.

Are earmuffs better than ear plugs?

While earmuffs are not better than earplugs, workplace studies indicate that earmuffs often provide more noise reduction than earplugs despite differences in the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). Getting a good fit with earmuffs is relatively easy, even with minimal training, and when compared to using earplugs, earmuffs may fit more consistently each time they are worn.

What are the best industrial ear plugs?

The best industrial earplugs are the ones that fit your ears well and are comfortable. Hearing protectors must fit properly in order to block noise. Hearing protectors that fit comfortably are also more likely to be worn correctly and worn the entire time you are exposed to hazardous noise, meaning you are less likely to remove them while on the job.

Should I use disposable or reusable ear plugs?

The best type of earplug you can wear is the one that fits, feels comfortable and helps provide the appropriate level of protection for your environment.

What are the best ear muffs?

For the same reasons as the above question, the best earmuffs are the ones that fit your ears well and are comfortable. The best earmuffs are also the ones that are compatible with the rest of your personal protective equipment, including other items like safety glasses, respirators and hard hats.

What are the different types of hearing protection?

There are many different types of hearing protectors that can be worn to protect the wearer’s hearing. The most common types include:

• Foam roll down earplugs

• Push-to-fit earplugs

• Reusable earplugs

• Earmuffs

• Protective communication devices

What do hearing protection ratings like the noise reduction rating (NRR) mean?

The noise reduction rating (NRR) is a single-number method that describes the overall sound reduction across frequencies (attenuation) of a hearing protection device (HPD) in decibels (dB) based on a laboratory test. Since the NRR is a laboratory test, it is recognized that it may overestimate the protection achieved by users in their workplace settings. Therefore, it is recommended that the NRR be derated in order to better estimate workplace protection. The NRR derating scheme can be found in CSA Z94.2-14 Hearing Protection Devices Standards, Table 2: Effective rating calculations for the NRR.

What level of noise reduction, or hearing protection, do I need from my hearing protector?

The level of noise reduction, also referred to as attenuation, depends on the noise levels and length of time in your environment. A hearing loss prevention program (HLPP) is indicated when noise levels cannot be lowered to safe levels. When noise levels are hazardous workers need to be provided with an adequate selection of hearing protectors. According to CSA Z94.2-14 hearing standard, all individuals exposed to noise greater than 85dBA shall be provided with appropriate hearing protection.

What ear protection do I need to protect my hearing for shooting?

Shooting/gunshots is an example of an impulse noise, a sound that is generally defined as having a short duration (less than one second). When choosing hearing protection for impulse noise from gunshots, there are several variables that should be taken into consideration, including the weapon type, number of rounds fired, proper selection and fit and use of hearing protection. There are three main options:

1. Traditional passive hearing protectors – these are products without electronic components and include roll-down foam earplugs, push-to-fit foam earplugs and earmuffs that block noise continuously.

2. Passive level-dependent hearing protectors – these products use specialized acoustic filters that instantaneously restrict the transmission of sound into the ear when the wearer is exposed to an impulse noise.

3. Electronic level-dependent hearing protectors – these “active” hearing protectors use microphones to pick up low-level noise (non-hazardous) sounds in the wearer’s environments and reproduce them inside the hearing protector. The amount of sound that is electronically reproduced inside of the HPD decreases proportionately as the sound level outside of the device increases, ideal for protecting against impulse noises.

What kind of earmuffs let you hear conversation?

Protective communication devices with ambient listening microphones help protect your hearing while allowing you to communicate with colleagues in noisy environments. You don’t need to lift your earmuffs to hear warning bells, alarms or communications and sudden loud or sharp noises are dampened instantly, thanks to 3M technology. Ambient sound is reproduced inside the earmuff at a comfortable level (up to 82 dB). The volume can be adjusted to your preference to hear speech and other important signals.

Do you have a question about hearing protection that we didn’t cover? Reach out to us via the form below!

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